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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Signs of a Looted Iraq (Hassan) --__--__-- Message: 1 Date: Sun, 30 May 2004 07:45:14 -0700 (PDT) From: Hassan <hasseini@DELETETHISyahoo.com> Subject: Signs of a Looted Iraq To: CASI newsclippings <email@example.com>, IAC discussion <firstname.lastname@example.org> [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/28/international/middleeast/28SCRA.html In the Scrapyards of Jordan, Signs of a Looted Iraq By JAMES GLANZ Published: May 28, 2004 AHAB, Jordan, May 26 =97 As the United States spends billions of dollars to= rebuild Iraq's civil and military infrastructure, there is increasing evid= ence that parts of sensitive military equipment, seemingly brand-new compon= ents for oil rigs and water plants and whole complexes of older buildings a= re leaving the country on the backs of flatbed trucks By some estimates, at least 100 semitrailers loaded with what is billed as = Iraqi scrap metal are streaming each day into Jordan, just one of six count= ries that share a border with Iraq. American officials say sensitive equipment is, in fact, closely monitored a= nd much of the rest that is leaving is legitimate removal and sale from a s= hattered country. But many experts say that much of what is going on amount= s to a vast looting operation. In the past several months, the International Atomic Energy Agency, based i= n Vienna, has been closely monitoring satellite photographs of hundreds of = military-industrial sites in Iraq. Initial results from that analysis are j= arring, said Jacques Baute, director of the agency's Iraq nuclear verificat= ion office: entire buildings and complexes of as many as a dozen buildings = have been vanishing from the photographs. "We see sites that have totally been cleaned out," Mr. Baute said. The agency started the program in December, after a steel vessel contaminat= ed with uranium, probably an artifact of Saddam Hussein's pre-1991 nuclear = program, turned up in a Rotterdam scrapyard. The shipment was traced to a J= ordanian company that was apparently unaware that the scrap contained radio= active material. In the last several weeks, Jordan has again caught the attention of interna= tional officials, as pieces of Iraqi metal bearing tags put in place by the= United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, establi= shed to monitor Iraqi disarmament during Mr. Hussein's rule, have been spot= ted in Jordanian scrapyards. The observation of items tagged by the commiss= ion, known as Unmovic, has not been previously disclosed. "Unmovic has been investigating the removal from Iraq of materials that may= have been subject to monitoring, and that investigation is ongoing," said = Jeff Allen, a spokesman for the commission. "So we've been aware of the iss= ue," he said. "We've been apprised of the details of the Rotterdam incident= and have been in touch with Jordanian officials." Recent examinations of Jordanian scrapyards, including by a reporter for Th= e New York Times, have turned up an astounding quantity of scrap metal and = new components from Iraq's civil infrastructure, including piles of valuabl= e copper and aluminum ingots and bars, large stacks of steel rods and water= pipe and giant flanges for oil equipment =97 all in nearly mint condition = =97 as well as chopped-up railroad boxcars, huge numbers of shattered Iraqi= tanks and even beer kegs marked with the words "Iraqi Brewery." "There is a gigantic salvage operation, stripping anything of perceived val= ue out of the country," said John Hamre, president and chief executive of t= he Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan Washington= research institute, which sent a team to Iraq and issued a report on recon= struction efforts at the request of the Pentagon last July. "This is systematically plundering the country," Dr. Hamre said. "You're go= ing to have to replace all of this stuff." The United States contends that the prodigious Middle Eastern trade in Iraq= i scrap metal is closely monitored by Iraqi government ministries to ensure= that nothing crossing the border poses a security risk or siphons material= from new projects. In April, L. Paul Bremer III, the occupation's senior o= fficial in Iraq, and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade established rules for lice= nsing the export of scrap metal from the country. The sites now being monitored by the atomic energy agency include former mi= ssile factories, warehouses, industrial plants and sites believed to contai= n "dual use" equipment like high-precision machine tools that could be used= either for civilian purposes or for making components for nuclear and othe= r weaponry. Mr. Baute said that the analysis had been completed at about a = dozen sites and that the agency was working to prepare a report on the enti= re monitoring program. Sam Whitfield, a spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, said th= at penalties for not obtaining a license or abiding by its terms were sever= e for a trucker. "If he does not have it or is found to be exporting scrap = illegally, not only can his load be seized but his truck can be seized," he= said. Mr. Whitfield said that the overall quantity of scrap might not be surprisi= ng, considering that there were, for example, an estimated 3,000 damaged ta= nks and other military vehicles in Iraq as a result of a series of wars. Th= ose vehicles are being legitimately scrapped, he said. "There's huge volumes of scrap out there, just all over Iraq," he said. A senior American intelligence official said the idea that the material to = build missiles or nuclear devices might be being exported from the military= -industrial sites was "far-fetched." "It's conceivable that some of this material might be dual-use in nature," = the official said, adding that "what appears to be happening is simply loot= ing." Mr. Whitfield asserted that the coalition had put a stop to widespread loot= ing in Iraq. But a visit to an enormous scrapyard on the side of a dusty hi= ll surrounded by goat herds in this town about 10 miles southeast of Amman = raises serious questions about that assertion. Cranes and men with torches = pick through seemingly endless piles of steel, aluminum and copper that wor= kers there say has come almost exclusively from Iraq. On a recent afternoon, roughly 100 trucks, many with yellow Iraqi license p= lates, were lined up near the entrance to the scrapyard or maneuvering with= inches to spare inside, their engines snorting as they kicked up the flour= like dust. Yousseff Wakhian, a scrapyard worker wearing a gray jumpsuit and a cap with= a New York Yankees insignia, said that 60 to 100 trucks had come in that d= ay from Iraq and 50 had left with loads of the scrap to be sold elsewhere. Some of the piles contain items that might =97 or might not =97 have arrive= d as part of legitimate scrap operations. There is stripped copper cable fr= om a high-voltage electrical system, jumbled piles of tank treads, big engi= ne blocks and crankshafts and thick steel walls connected to a door with le= ttering indicating that it was part of a building at an airport. Last year, there were widespread reports of looting of electrical transmiss= ion lines and military bases, among other things. But Muhammad al-Dajah, an engineer who is technical director Jordanian free= -trade zones like the Sahab scrapyard, pointed with chagrin to piles of oth= er items that hardly looked as if they belonged in a shipment of scrap meta= l. There were new 15-foot-long bars of carbon steel, water pipes a foot in = diameter stacked in triangular piles 10 feet high, and the large flanges he= identified as oil-well equipment. "It's still new," Mr. Dajah said, "and worth a lot." "Why are they here?" he asked rhetorically, and then said, referring to the= devastation in Iraq. "They need it there." The scrap operation has not been without incident, Mr. Dajah said. A few mo= nths ago workers cutting apart an automobile at Zarqa, another free-trade z= one, set off a concealed bomb that killed one of them, he said. An Iraqi truck driver at Sahab, Ahmed Zughayer, said the trip from Karbala,= where he picked up a load of tank parts that were still piled in the back = of his truck, was insufferable because of delays at the Jordanian border. "First time and last," he said when asked how often he had made the trip. "= Seven days at the border being inspected. And here two days." Mr. Zughayer said Jordanian military personnel had combed through the load = and probed it with detection equipment. Officials at the atomic energy agen= cy said that since the Rotterdam incident, radiation detectors at Iraq's bo= rders had repeatedly picked up generally weak radioactive emissions from de= ep within loads of scrap. The agency said that in one incident on May 15, radiation detectors began c= licking when a truck carrying a load of scrap stopped at the Habur border c= rossing with Turkey; the truck was turned back. Several Middle Eastern analysts said that the widespread traffic in Iraqi s= crap did not have all the hallmarks of an above-board operation. "What we are finding out in Iraq, there are gangs, some of them from the ol= d days, some of them new with corruption, and they can get away with it," s= aid Walid Khadduri, an Iraqi who is editor of the Middle East Economic Surv= ey in Cyprus and was in the country as recently as January. "It is really mayhem," Mr. Khadduri said. "There is no law." Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian political analyst who has done business in Iraq = under the oil-for-food program, said that there was in fact much talk in th= e business community of deals "to ship new things under the title of scrap.= " Beyond what has been seen at the scrapyards, Mr. Kamhawi offered no specifi= c evidence that those deals were taking place. But a former high-ranking Jo= rdanian military official said that functioning pieces of, say, sophisticat= ed electronics from surface-to-air missile batteries or precision machine t= ools almost could not avoid being passed around with scrap, since it is so = difficult to destroy such equipment completely. The official also said there was far from just a single Jordanian scrapyard= doing a brisk business in Iraqi machinery and scrap. He said that only a f= ew days before, he had seen nearly an entire Russian-made T-55 tank with Ir= aqi markings, its muzzle cut off by a blowtorch, sitting on a flatbed truck= outside a steel plant near the road from Amman to the main commercial airp= ort. On a recent day, the plant, identified on a sign as part of the United Iron= and Steel Manufacturing Company, a Jordanian business, had three trucks wi= th Baghdad license plates idling out front. At a tumbledown shack on the wa= y toward piles of steel in the distance, a wiry, weathered security guard w= ith a three-day growth of beard stopped a car carrying an American journali= st and two Jordanians. "No, you can't go in," said the guard, who identified himself as Azzam Tami= mi. "I have orders." A Jordanian asked Mr. Tamimi what was down among the piles of steel to warr= ant barring visitors from the area. "Nothing is in there," Mr. Tamimi said. "There is only destroyed Iraqi tank= s from the war." Douglas Jehl contributed reporting from Washington for this article. --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Friends. Fun. Try the all-new Yahoo! Messenger End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk